Tarek Fatah does not seem impressed with Michael Ignatieff’s response to Justin Trudeau’s ‘barbaric’ gaffe.
If you follow Fatah’s Twitter feed from yesterday, he’s trying to make the point that equating honour killings with domestic violence is part of the problem – not the solution. And so he has an issue with how Iggy attempted to defuse the situation.
I do too.
These are Michael Ignatieff’s exact words:
At a news conference in Montreal, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said that Canada is based on “equality between the sexes.”
“Let’s not play word games with this stuff…. There’s no such thing as an honour killing, there’s only killing and it’s a crime everywhere,” he said.
“We’re based on equality here and any of these practices are simply unacceptable. If you want to use the word barbaric, use the word barbaric,” he said.
Sorry Iggy. You just made it worse.
As Fatah points out, calling ‘honour killings’ domestic violence diminishes the scope of the problem and ignores the systemic cultural causes that need to be addressed.
You can say that all murder is barbaric (and many do), but honour killings are a special case. I haven’t seen a better analysis of the problem than that of Professor Phyllis Chesler’s in Saturday’s Post – The Sisterhood’s most Important Struggle:
An honour killing is not the same as a Western domestically violent femicide. Many honorable feminists disagree with me on this point. They believe that honour killings belong in the same category as Western domestic violence. Understandably, such feminists fear singling out one group for behaviour that may be common to all groups. But if, for reasons of “political correctness,” we fail to properly understand a crime, we will never be able to prevent or to prosecute it.
She then goes on to explain an important difference:
In the West, child-murderers, wife batterers and wife-killers are now (courtesy of second-wave feminism), seen as criminals. Yet those who commit or assist in the commission of honour killings view such killings as heroic, and even as the fulfillment of a tribal or religious obligation.
This is an important point. Even though it is murder, the community around the family members who have carried out the ‘honour killing’ may indeed side with the killers. So their social milieu may actually condone their behaviour and agree that the dishonoured father and sons had no choice. Mothers are also often complicit in the act by turning a blind eye.
We don’t usually see this kind of social and familial involvement in other kinds of domestic violence.
Chesler sums up:
We must issue clear government warnings to all immigrants to the West: Honour killings and female genital mutilation will be prosecuted under Western law. Since honour killings are collaborations, conspiracies, both the perpetrators and accomplices will all be prosecuted. European courts have recently begun to do all this. Unlike the United States, they have a large Muslim immigrant population.
Here in Canada, the Conservative Government is trying to grapple with this cultural divide. The message is clear. We will not tolerate these kinds of abuses. Please don’t bring this part of your culture here.
But Liberals are so worried about offending anyone that they’d rather pussyfoot around a cultural problem than confront it head-on.
Unfortunately their head-in-the-sand approach is likely to exasperate the suffering and threaten the lives of many young immigrant women.
* * * *
Why it’s barbaric – Lorrie Goldstein. (Caution – Very graphic)
Justin Trudeau’s weasel words ‘absolutely unacceptable’ – NAOMI LAKRITZ, CALGARY HERALD:
In dislodging his foot from his mouth, via an apology and retraction, Trudeau said he had gotten “tangled in semantic weeds.”
Give this man a Weed Whacker for his next birthday.